News

House approves another short-term funding fix

May 22, 2015

congress progressThis week, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a short-term highway funding extension. The extension will be the 33rd short-term fix since 2008 and will authorize funding through July 31.

While short-term extensions have been accurately portrayed as Band-aids on bullet holes, the extra time gives Congress a chance to put together a more comprehensive solution for long-term funding. Many view this as a more pragmatic move than attempting to force an imperfect bill through Congress on a tight deadline. It also is viewed as better than a six-month extension, which would let the issue fester and possibly spill into an election year.

The Obama administration introduced a six-year funding proposal with a $478 billion price tag, but with Republicans controlling both chambers of Congress, most observers believe that is unlikely to be the vehicle for long-term highway funding. Read more

News

Corman pitches pension reform at PHIA breakfast

May 7, 2015

IMG_1995The additional resources needed to support Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed budget will not be forthcoming without first addressing the state’s pension issue, Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre) told several dozen attendees at a breakfast hosted by the Pennsylvania Highway Information Association.

Corman, a longtime supporter of ample transportation funding, lauded the safety improvements to highways made possible by the passage of Act 89 in 2013. His constituents and all Pennsylvanians will see the benefits as the funding increases move ahead.

But he emphasized that neither the highway industry nor any other group receiving resources from the state can escape the impact of the increased pension obligation. Pensions are one of the largest cost-drivers of the entire state budget, and the pension system must be modernized to shift the risk away from taxpayers and to free up resources for other programs and services.

Corman informed the group that his caucus is working on a solution that could bring savings to the state by enrolling new state hires in a defined contribution plan instead of a defined benefit plan. Continuing to devote increasing resources to the pension deficit without reform is unacceptable, he said.

House Majority Leader Dave Reed will be the next breakfast series guest on June 17. The series is sponsored by the American Council of Engineering Companies, Burns Engineering and PennStress.

 

News

PennDOT lets $242 million in April

May 6, 2015

NEW_PENNDOTPennDOT continued its strong, post-Act 89 momentum by letting over $242 million in projects during April, bringing the year-to-date total to just over $800 million. Last year, PennDOT ended the year with $2.6 billion in lettings, the highest since 2009 when the program was boosted by the one-time economic stimulus package. PennDOT exceeded its initial 2014 estimate of $2.2 billion and it was reported earlier that PennDOT’s 2015 anticipated lettings will again be $2.6 billion.

At the end of 2013, PennDOT only bid $1.638 billion in lettings. Act 89 enabled PennDOT to put nearly a $1 billion more projects on the street in 2014 than it was able to do in 2013.

With the recent enactment of the transportation funding bill there is reason to see this trend continue well past 2015. Act 89, which will implement a $2.3 billion comprehensive transportation funding plan over the next five years, will result in PennDOT exceeding the $2 billion construction lettings mark for years to come.

As in year’s past, PHIA will continue to track contract lettings on a monthly basis.

To view the full April letting report and year comparisons, click the link below.

April Letting Report* (PDF)

*The report lists the total contracts awarded at each letting date, a comparison to the same period in the previous calendar year, and letting adjustments made since the previous month. PHIA staff will track PennDOT lettings throughout the year and provide monthly update.

 

 

News

Transportation officials are asking for public input in long-range plan update

April 1, 2015

NEW_PENNDOTSetting Pennsylvania’s transportation priorities is a locally-driven exercise. It relies on the input of regional transportation planners and elected officials, who rely on input from community leaders and residents.

Most recently, PennDOT has taken advantage of technology and has encouraged members of the public to offer their views directly to the State Transportation Commission from the comfort and convenience of the home or office. Those agencies are keepers of the Twelve Year Transportation Program, which is updated every two years. It’s now time for that update.

The commission, PennDOT and the 24 regional planning partners will hold a live webcast on April 16 from 7 to 8 p.m. Acting PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards, who chairs the commission, will present an update on transportation issues, and she and other PennDOT staff will answer questions submitted in advance and during the online meeting. Read more

News

PennDOT’s March Lettings Total $163 Million

March 31, 2015

NEW_PENNDOTPennDOT continued its strong, post-Act 89 momentum by letting over $163 million in projects let during March.  Last year, PennDOT ended the year with $2.6 billion in lettings, the highest since 2009 when the program was boosted by the one-time economic stimulus package.  PennDOT exceeded its initial 2014 estimate of $2.2 billion and it was reported earlier that PennDOT’s 2015 anticipated lettings will again be $2.6 billion.

At the end of 2013, PennDOT only bid $1.638 billion in lettings. Act 89 enabled PennDOT to put nearly a $1 billion more projects on the street in 2014 than it was able to do in 2013.

With the recent enactment of the transportation funding bill there is reason to see this trend continue well past 2015. Act 89, which will implement a $2.3 billion comprehensive transportation funding plan over the next five years, will result in PennDOT exceeding the $2 billion construction lettings mark for years to come. Read more